Time Trial (TT) bikes are specifically designed for the demands of a highly specialized niche of the sport of cycle racing, where individual riders or teams compete against the clock on relatively short and flat courses. Time triallers pit themselves not against the tactics of the peloton or the pull of gravity in the mountains, but against the pure power of their rivals’ legs and lungs and the ticking seconds of the clock.
This purist pursuit, where the difference between winning and losing can be hundredths of a second, calls for a specific tool. TT bikes are aerodynamic, ultra-stiff machines with the emphasis firmly on lower wind resistance and direct power transfer over light weight, responsive handling or long-distance comfort.
TT bikes are also popular among triathletes, who appreciate the speed benefits they can offer over the often relatively short and flat cycle stages of triathlon races. However a dedicated TT bike is not a prerequisite for competing in triathlons – a ‘normal’ race bike with some adaptations can serve just as well for many – and the benefits must be carefully weighed against the disadvantages.